Red Yam Flan
Flan is a traditional Southwestern dessert, one of the many dishes of Spanish derivation now part of the repertoire. Pureed yams impart a vibrant color to the usually pale dish, as well as boosting the flavor and texture. The flan can be made up to 4 days in advance and kept chilled in the refrigerator, tightly covered with plastic wrap. Yellow yams may be substituted.
- Red Yams - 2-3 (about 1-1/3 pounds total weight, to yield 1-1/2 cups puree)
- Sugar - 1-1/2 cups
- Water - 1/2 cup
- Eggs - 8
- Egg Yolks - 2
- Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk - One, 14-ounce can
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup
- Half-and-half - 1 cup
- Vanilla Extract - 1-1/2 teaspoons
- Cinnamon, Allspice, and Nutmeg - 1/2 teaspoon, each ground
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Scrub the yams and bake for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, depending on size, until they are soft. Remove from the oven and let cool enough to handle. Peel the yams, cut into chunks, and puree. You will need 1-1/2 cups of yam puree. Leave the oven on.
While the yams are baking, prepare the caramel: In a small, heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and 1/4 cup of the water to a boil over high heat, washing down any crystals which form on the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Do not stir. Watch the syrup; when it turns golden brown and is bubbling furiously, pour it into the center of a 9-inch flan pan or souffle dish. Swirl the syrup around the bottom and partially up the sides of the pan to coat. Pour any remaining syrup back into the pot, add the remaining 1/4 cup of water, and bring the syrup back to a boil. Set aside.
Beat the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients along with the cooked yam puree and beat well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared flan pan and place the flan pan in a larger baking pan. Pour boiling water into the baking pan half-way up the sides of the flan pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until firm throughout. Do not overbake.
Remove from the water bath, cool to room temperature, then chill.
To serve: Unmold the flan by running a knife around the edge of the flan, placing a serving plate on top of it, and inverting it onto the plate. Rap on the counter to loosen the flan if necessary. Pour or blot any excess juice and serve with the caramel.